The 2015 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and summer school was again a highly successful and uplifting event. Four days and nights of talks, debates, films, singing, poetry and music concluded at the Maldron Hotel on the Saturday night 1st August with a rousing and spectacular musical tribute to labour leader Joe Hill, who was executed one hundred years ago.
Earlier actress Kaiulani Lee had brought Mother Jones to the streets of her childhood when she performed her play Can’t Scare Me…The Story of Mother Jones at the Firkin Crane before an appreciative and amazed audience. It was a triumph for Kaiulani, a tribute to the professionalism of everyone at the Firkin Crane and the fulfilment of a long cherished dream of the Cork Mother Jones Committee to have Ms Lee come to Cork to perform. We acknowledge the support of Ms Becky Bartovics in bringing this about. We thank Ms Lee on an amazing performance and for her insightful contributions to several other elements of the festival.
According to Jim Nolan of the Cork Mother Jones Committee
“We were delighted with the 2015 festival, the lectures and debates were outstanding with capacity attendances, morning, afternoon and evening. It was a real privilege to present Fr Peter McVerry with the 2015 Spirit of Mother Jones award, no one deserves it more for his brave determination to question the causes of homelessness and do something about it”
It was memorable to hear Chris Mullin give a very personal, frank and objective account of his role in the campaign to free the Birmingham Six and later describe in amusing detail his affection for the late Tony Benn as well as his forthright views on the election of a new British Labour Party leader. Dave Hopper and the Durham Miners’ Association contributed so much to the ground breaking Mother Jones lecture and later their description of the injustice of what took place at Orgreave”
Historians and writers such as Luke Dineen, Ann Matthews, Leo Keohane, Scott Millar, Theo Dorgan and John Jefferies presented papers on the political and historical flux and lesser known personalities of the first decades of the 1900s, which had 1916 Rising at its core. The extraordinary life of Cork woman Ethel Boole was critically examined by author Alannah Hopkin while Margaret O’Keeffe presented a very wise and thoughtful paper on a current topic of water and democracy.
Music, singing, poetry, a garden party and everything in between was as usual an integral element of the event and under the direction of William Hammond and Richard T Cooke, the very best of Cork talent was well represented throughout. Johnny Nyhan organised the emotional tribute to Joe Hill. Films were also central to the festival and Frameworks Films ensured a professional presentation.The staff and management of the Maldron Hotel kept the show working at all times in spite of the crowds. The local Shandon community provided magnificent logistics support, a colourful backdrop and a wonderful historic setting to the 2015 Festival which again showed to all what an organised community in the very heart of Cork City can achieve.
Jim Nolan continued
“So many people contributed to the success of the festival, especially those in the trade union movement across Ireland, north and south. This support combined with that of the City Council, the local community, the media and the huge international support of the Mother Jones groupsand individuals in Britain and America, the festival provides a fitting and appropriate celebration of a famous and uniquely Cork rebel…….Mary Harris……known to the world as Mother Jones. Long may it continue”
The dates for the 2016 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School will be announced shortly, all will be welcome to come along and experience the unique atmosphere which it generates.
We have many more photos from the festival which can be viewed by clicking on the image below.
|Mother Jones Festival 2015|
More photos will follow soon
The Cork Mother Jones Committee is delighted to announce that Fr Peter McVerry is the recipient of the 2015 Spirit of Mother Jones Award.
Fr Peter McVerry was presented with the award earlier today (Thursday) following his thought-provoking address on the topic …..”Homelessness – the failure of social policy”.
Fr Peter McVerry has spent virtually all his adult life providing for the homeless and providing drug treatment and drug prevention services to thousands of people who fall through the cracks in society. He opened his first hostel as far back as 1979 and founded the Peter McVerry Trust in 1983 which plays a huge role today in providing services for many homeless people.
According to Jim Nolan of the Cork Mother Jones Committee
“Fr Peter McVerry was the unanimous choice of the entire Cork Mother Jones Committee to receive the Spirit of Mother Jones Award in 2015. He receives it in recognition of his unstinting efforts to provide a voice for those without a voice or power in society and for the way he openly challenges the political establishment to find a permanent political solution to this growing problem”
“He receives it due to his fearlessness in pursuit of a political solution and for how he does not accept the cosy consensus which tries to keep the homeless issue out of sight…for his ability to raise the inconvenient truth that Irish society can end this problem by making a political decision to do so upsets a lot of people in high places……….and for his refusal to shut up and go away.”
“The Peter McVerry Trust under the inspiration and dedication of Fr Peter has worked in the very front lines of finding solutions for homelessness for over three decades and we believe that he is a very worthy recipient of the Spirit of Mother Jones Award 2015. We are satisfied that Mother Jones if she was alive today would have been very proud of Fr Peter for his ability to highlight the social injustice of homelessness and would support his efforts to put forward solutions. It is a great honour for our committee that he has agreed to accept the award for 2015 as a small token of our appreciation for his efforts.”
Concluded Mr Nolan.
Some estimates put the number of homeless in Ireland at around 5000 at present and Fr McVerry has warned of a tsunami of homelessness in Ireland if political action is not taken quickly.
Previous recipients of the Spirit of Mother Jones award were Margaret Aspinall of the Hillsborough Family Support Group in 2013 and Gareth Peirce, Solicitor in 2014.
The Cork Mother Jones Committee is proud to introduce the 2015 Spirit of Mother Jones festival and summer school which begins on Wednesday 29th July and concludes on Saturday night, 1st August.
We feel very honoured to celebrate the memory of Mary Harris, known as Mother Jones, in the streets of her birthplace and we know that the speakers, musicians, poets, film makers, artists, singers, actors and the visitors will provide a festival and summer school that is interesting, relevant and challenging. The wonderful community of Shandon in Cork City will again provide a historic and colourful backdrop for the events. We also know that many others across the USA, the UK, Greece and elsewhere will be attending in spirit.
The full programme of almost 30 events over 4 days is available to download by clicking on this link: Spirit of Mother Jones programme 2015
The topics and subjects are varied and diverse, yet we are sure Mother Jones would have approved of the debates they will encourage among those attending. We will remember forgotten Cork heroes such as John Dowling and Lily Boole, and others such as Tony Benn, Joe Hill and Rachel Carson. We will hear of injustices perpetrated on the miners at Orgreave or on the Birmingham Six. We will wonder at the bravery of Irish Citizen Army and the labour struggles of the early 20th Century. We will hear of homelessness in our Republic in 2015 and the possible loss of our most precious natural resource.
We will listen to the very best of Cork and international music and song from Two Time Polka, Jimmy Crowley, Johnny Nyhan, Richard T. Cooke, William Hammond, the Cork Singers Club, the Cork Rokk Choir and many, many more.
And we will experience Mother Jones herself when the superb Kaiulani Lee takes the stage to perform “Can’t Scare Me…the Story of Mother Jones”.
Virtually all the events are free and open to everyone, (just be early!). For that we have to thank our sponsors, the Shandon community, all those participating and contributing on a voluntary basis and the ongoing work of the members of the Cork Mother Jones Committee to celebrate an inspirational woman. Come along!
Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living!
Under the subtitle “Renewing Our Faith in (Strong) Democracy – Lessons from the Water Protests!” Dr. Margaret O’Keeffe will speak on this very topical issue at the Maldron Hotel, on Friday, 31st July at 2pm.
Dr. O’Keeffe, who lectures in Community Development at the Department of Social Studies, Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), says the lecture has its genesis in her thoughts, observations and peaceful activism over the last two years or so in relation to some of the critical issues regarding water privatisation in Ireland.
“Drawing on Benjamin Barber’s conceptualisation of Strong Democracy (1998), I wish to link the discussion to wider debates in relation to various interrelated democratic struggles at local, national and global levels, including but not limited to issues of growing global inequality, privatisation, climate change and the proposed Trans-Atlantic TTIP trade deal”, states Margaret.
“I argue that the water protest struggle is linked to wider emancipatory struggles which use the democratic process to challenge the hegemony of corporate power in an increasingly unequal global economy. I suggest that the water protest movement is a microcosm of wider democratic struggles across Europe and the world”.
“Failure to recognise these interlinkages and their adverse implications for a fairer society for all means that we inadvertently fail to see what is happening to our world, and the likely degraded and diminished world, in terms of hope and opportunity, that our children, grandchildren and generations yet to be born, will face now and into the future.”, she concluded.
The annual Durham Gala, organised by the Durham Miners’ Association was held at the Racecourse on Saturday 11th July 2015. The Big Meeting took place following the huge colourful parade of banners and bands through the city from early morning.